By Maricela ‘Marci’ Rosales -
When I started my advocacy journey, it began with me advocating for time outside to play and taking in cats and dogs from the streets of Los Angeles as a little girl! FACTS! I remember bringing up important issues I cared about or needed to be addressed with my parents and siblings and finding solutions that made a difference and even changed the way they saw the world through my eyes. I was/am their next generation.
I’ve been an advocate in different ways throughout my life, from volunteering time in my teens to local animal rights advocacy groups to addressing issues on Southern California’s coastal lines and beaches. In my 20s, I became aware and involved in college education opportunities and funding advocacy to Disability Rights Advocacy. Today I continue my advocacy journey with the lens in Outdoor Justice, Equity, and Inclusion and Environmental Conservation Advocacy.
There is no one direction when looking at advocacy. The issues I’ve come to care for and advocate for are not better than the other. They intersect and are interdependent on one another. But what makes things move in a better direction is when WE get involved in the political process through advocating for people, place, and planet.
This week is the Inaugural Latino Advocacy Week. I am proud and humbled by the work it took to organize the efforts of the Hispanic Access Foundationto inspire communities, coalitions, and non-profits to engage, educate, and encourage the Latino/a/x/e community to get involved and to learn about it.
Is there an issue that gets you fired up? Whether it’s protecting the environment, fighting for more resources at your neighborhood’s school, or calling attention to the inequities that affect your community, the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) can give you the essential skills and strategies you need to be an agent for change. Watch the #LatinoAdvocacyWeek virtual training on Advocacy 101
As we wrap up Latino Advocacy Week remember you can start your advocacy journey when it feels right to you. It’s okay if you don’t know exactly where you are with advocacy or what it means. Holding space and speaking your truth is a form of self-advocacy and that’s a great starting point. You don’t need to be an expert you just need inspiration and ganas (desire) to act!
Maricela Rosales (she/her/ella) is from Los Angeles, California. Is a Latino Outdoors Ambassador and the CA Program Associate Director for Conservation Lands Foundation. Find out more about her on Instagram @lemarci